I'm not a workaholic, I'm just a jerk

I have always prided myself on having a semblance of work-life balance but last week was a prime example of why I do not have it all figured out. As our fiscal year is ending, I realized that I will lose some vacation time because I haven't taken any real time off since I started my job at Headwaters. As I looked at my calendar to figure out when would be a good time for vacation, I realized that I have scheduled commitments throughout the summer and last week was my best chance at some time away. During this time we are also looking a a variety of new funding opportunities, that are especially important now (because of the little global economic meltdown and its impact on our endowment and our nonprofits). So during this relaxing vacation:

  • I went into the office to meet with a board committee, participate in a conversation with a consultant about an application we are submitting, and to pick up a pile of files for another grant application,
  • Participated in  variety of conference calls,
  • Checked email every few hours and responded to about 100 emails,
  • Went to a school conference,
  • Checked my Twitter-feed endlessly and forwarded interesting links to my staff

This isn't a "woe is me" post, this is a "woe is my staff" post. It has taken me till the sixth day of workaholic craziness to realize that I am being a terrible example to my staff and to my family. For the staff, I am saying that vacation time doesn't really mean time "off" from work, it means an expectation of being connected from another location. I may not mean that, but its what I show by example. It also looks like I don't trust them to make decisions in my absence, which is also not the intention but it sure looks like that. For my family, it means that when I say that I am hanging out with them, I am actually thinking about work and often doing work. There is nothing more exciting to a five year old than watching Mommy check her Twitter feed.

The only good thing about noticing a character flaw is that you have to notice it before you can fix it. Here's to making not working work next time.